I attended NITOP for the second time this year, and for both years now, I left the conference with a positive impression. For example, last year I was impressed by the sense of community cultivated by the NITOP attendees. Everyone I spoke with was very welcoming and genuinely cared about getting to know me. This year I was impressed by the utility of the shared ideas. Not everything was useful to me, but I feel like I left with a number of ideas that I can readily and easily implement into my courses. Below I’ll discuss a few that I’m especially excited for.
1. Jeff Nevid presented the idea of using mastery questions or quizzes. These are multiple choice questions that students have the opportunity to answer at the beginning and end of class via online polling software. When these are assigned points toward the overall course grade, they promote a number of good habits in students such as being on time and staying engaged throughout class. Who doesn’t want that? I plan to implement these in my statistics class this semester to see which students are reading the book before coming to class and to assess student learning of new concepts. However this idea could be easily applied to most all content courses.
After leaving most academic conferences, I board my flight home exhausted both mentally and physically. In the past, my days at most conferences are dedicated to session after session where I learn about new research in my field, which generates a mountain of research ideas that I have little time to organize. However, leaving NITOP, instead of feeling mentally drained from information overload, I feel invigorated with new ideas for the spring semester. My motivation to attend NITOP is similar to many. The conference helps me learn new ways to improve my teaching, and connects me to a community of like-minded academics within the psychology community. After another great conference, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite sessions and experiences from the conference.
This year’s NITOP was fabulous as always (although pretty chilly). I had a great time meeting up with the twitter #squad and discussing with colleagues different aspects of teaching. One thing that really stuck with me came from two particular talks:
Mikki Hebel gave a general session talk about gender and race gatekeeping and included some examples in academia, such as this study and this study which show that letters of recommendation often show gender bias. Her talk was fantastic, but I want to focus on another kind of gatekeeping that was actually brought up later in a talk by Erin Hardin.
So I've been trying my hand at blogging for about a year and a half and I have discovered that I'm pretty horrible at it, mostly because I have a hard time sticking to it. Being consistent, is a really important part of being a successful blogger and in that I have failed!
Its a new year though, and here at The Novice Professor, a new year brings new changes. I am happy to announce that The Novice Professor is growing. We have two new regular contributors to the blog and have several guest contributors in the works to provide a more varied (and more regular) perspective on what it means to be a Novice Professor.